June 2, 2016 by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Jun. 2, 2016 – At Hannover Messe 2016, Bosch presented hard- and software solutions for the “flexible, networked factories of tomorrow”: mobile assistance systems that work alongside human operators without the need for safety fences, while modular automation systems analyze, report on and control a wide range of production processes.
“Given the spectrum of work processes in today’s manufacturing, people are now needed more than ever as decision-makers and overseers,” says Volker Hartmann, deputy vice-president Business Unit Assembly Systems and Special Machinery at Bosch. “Our robots are there to free human operators from tasks that are potentially unsafe, overly simple and monotonous, or ergonomically challenging.”
At the show, Bosch highlighted:
• The APAS safekin — the robot kinematics system, dubbed APAS safekin, can be used independently of the mobile APAS base or an APAS workstation. The new automation component can be integrated into IEC61131 applications that conform to the standard international norm for programming languages, allowing for projects to be “rapidly implemented,” while “humans and machines work together safely, and existing facilities to be readily upgraded.”
• The APAS workstation for direct man-machine collaboration — which integrates a collaborative robot kinematics system (APAS safekin) and further automation components. The integrated robot kinematics system supports the operator, lending him or her a “third hand,” says the company, while promising to deliver more efficient processes and higher productivity.
• The APAS family — the family includes three other mobile, collaborative assistance systems. The APAS inspector is equipped with a “high-resolution, high-speed” camera and 3D mapping technologies. Thanks to interchangeable testing modules, the station can be used in various production contexts like surface inspections or testing. The APAS flexpress is suitable for “highly flexible, high-precision” joining, says Bosch. Its integrated safety features promise to seamlessly support its human operator. The same is true for the APAS assistant, says Bosch, which features a six-axis industrial robotic arm, a three-finger gripper, and 3D camera system. As an available option, the APAS speedswitch can be set to vary the APAS assistant’s operating speed, depending on whether or not human beings are nearby. The extended vicinity is monitored by the speedswitch interface and, provided no employees are nearby, the kinematics system operates at maximum speed. If someone approaches the APAS assistant, the speed automatically drops to help increase productivity without sacrificing workplace safety, says Bosch.